Two Sundays ago I road from Cambridge, New York to Lake George, New York. If you live anywhere in eastern New York State perhaps you remember that day: it rained. It sprinkled then it spit then it rained then it poured then it rained again. During the pouring stage I was somewhere near Glens Falls riding down a deserted rail trail alongside a canal. There was so much rain that it was spilling over the edges of the canal in waterfall style.
It was an interminable wetness. The kind that made me question everything I thought was true about my Patagonia rain jacket. But it wasn’t the wet that bothered me–it was, after all, a warm June rain–it was the clouds and the deserted streets and the absence of even a reason to hope for the sun that got to me.
Weather is a powerful thing. On the West Coast I biked through days of fog and hazy sunshine. Someone would appear out of the clouds abruptly as if stepping onto a stage. I felt dizzy, crazy, like I was in a dream. I forgot what time it was. I wasn’t sure if a place existed beyond what I could see. When you spend all day in it as a solitary being, the weather becomes you.
So when I got to Lake George I was wet and I was full of clouds. I road a circle around the campsite. There was no one there. I was scared. It was the irrational kind of fear that you get when you’re alone and it’s dark out and you’re full of clouds and there’s no one to talk you out of it but you. I stepped into motel lobbies looking for someone to strike me a deal. I pushed images from The Shining out of my mind.
I found a place eventually, a bit up the road and out of town. The family that ran it was immersed in ice cream eating when I arrived. They let me bring my bike inside. I showered. I made some dinner with my camp stove inside my motel room. And that was all I needed to banish the clouds. The next day was sunny.